Modern technology has come a long way over the last few years and interconnectivity between devices is now widespread. When Bluetooth started, I remember being amazed when I added a second Bluetooth device for the first time, thinking that it would use much more battery or the performance would drop. Nowadays, you can pair with many Bluetooth devices at once, but can you connect devices like smartwatches and headphones to your phone and use them at the same time? The answer is a little complicated.
You can connect headphones and a Smartwatch to your Smartphone at the same time via Bluetooth. With that said, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this, and it’s also worth mentioning that smartphones made before 2016 might not be able to use their connection
If your devices are relatively current, generally there should be no problem handling multiple Bluetooth connections. As always, experiment, and if there’s an issue, try deleting the pairing and start fresh. It’s worth noting that not all devices have the same capabilities, which is why it’s important to read a bit more before purchasing.
Using Bluetooth Headphones and a Smartwatch With Your Smartphone
Approximately five years ago, Bluetooth connections were typically limited to around two per device. As time has passed and Bluetooth has grown in popularity, there have been updates that allow for more connection options between Bluetooth headphones like the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT (on Amazon), for example, and a Smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S20 (on Amazon).
More specifically, the advent of Bluetooth version 4.1 allowed for multiple devices to have the same pairing “home” device. According to the official Bluetooth website, it’s possible to have up to seven active Bluetooth devices communicating with each other, but it’s suggested that limiting the number to three or four is a more practical working number.
A quick note about the distinction between “pairing” and “connected” devices as regards Bluetooth. “Pairing” is like a kiss; you’ve met, but you’re not necessarily exclusive. “Connected” by contrast is an active, information swapping relationship.
In Bluetooth, you could conceivably Pair an infinite number of devices, but only seven of them, officially, can be connected and used at the same time.
Bluetooth uses high-frequency radio waves to connect devices to each other. As such, the devices it is connecting to need to be within a certain range of each other.
For the majority of Bluetooth connections, this distance has about a 30-foot maximum. This range limitation varies with certain devices and models, so it’s worth experimenting with.
How to Pair Bluetooth Headphones and a Smartwatch to you Phone
If your Smartphone is of a certain age, and you’d like to check and see if it’s up for the multiple device challenge or even if it’s capable of being used as a payment device. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to check the website Gsmarena for your phone brand and model.
It keeps a pretty thorough database of just about all Smartphones, including information about Bluetooth versions. In general, to connect all three devices to each other via Bluetooth, the sequence goes like this:
Connecting Bluetooth Headphones and Smartwatches with Android phones
- Connect and pair your smartphone and Bluetooth headphones together in isolation, that is, without any other Bluetooth devices connected.
- Disconnect both devices from each other by deactivating Bluetooth on each device.
- Connect and pair your smartphone and smartwatch in isolation.
- Disconnect both devices again by deactivating Bluetooth.
- Once both devices have been successfully paired, you can tweak what information is channeled for each device. Keeping Bluetooth deactivated on your smartphone, go to Settings > Bluetooth Settings. For each pair you have established you can adjust, by clicking on each pair, the functions available to that pair.
- Once you’ve designated the functions available for each device then activate Bluetooth on your smartphone.
- Activate Bluetooth on your headphones.
- Activate Bluetooth on your smartwatch.
Connecting Bluetooth Headphones and Smartwatches For iOS and iWatch
For these devices, it is a little different and probably a little easier as well. To pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone, typically all you have to do is bring the devices close together and wait for the pairing process to start.
While this will use Bluetooth, the setup process is streamlined with a sort of Apple makeover, guiding you through its own sleek connection prompts.
Luckily this same pairing simplicity is mirrored when it comes to AirPods. This means that, after both devices are set up with your phone, the usability should basically just sort of magically work most of the time.
For iOS, then, it’s super easy and streamlined to connect both your headphones and a smartwatch to your phone at the same time (more on headphones in our guide), and if they’re both Apple products, that connection will be super easy.
If it’s a non-Apple smartwatch and/or brand of headphones, this will still work, but you’ll need to navigate to settings and go through the “classic” Bluetooth connection menu.
If All Else Fails, Reset
If your hardware is current and there’s still a problem, try going into your smartphone settings and delete the offending pairings. Once this is accomplished, go through the steps again and see if this resolves the communication problem.
In most cases, it’s a matter of making the pairings and connections with a clean slate, and keeping the Bluetooth functions clear.